Articles Posted in Wrongful Termination

A Montana case shows us that employees do get fired for improper reasons and that lawsuits are designed to help workers who are wronged by their bosses.

In Williams v. Plum Creek Timber Co., a man claimed he was wrongfully discharged. After a local judge dismissed the case, the Montana Supreme Court reversed that court’s decision.
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Wrongful termination in Irvine is a problem and one that causes many employees to not file claims for various forms of discrimination. If people believe there is a chance they will get fired or demoted for filing a claim of discrimination, they may be less likely to file a claim in the future.

Sadly, big companies sometimes believe that firing an employee may ensure their other workers think twice before filing a claim. But a successful jury verdict in favor of the fired employee can go a long way toward making sure officials think twice.

Irvine employment lawyers have represented many employees who feel they have faced discrimination in the past. That has led to many claims of discrimination and lawsuits that have followed. In cases where people have filed claims and then been fired, that opens up a whole new round of litigation that can lead to workers getting settlements.

But these cases aren’t easy. That’s why consulting with an experienced employment lawyer and keeping well-kept documented proof of notes, e-mails, calls and paperwork can help in proving your case. Big companies may try to throw their money at the problem with a high-priced legal team, but the truth is more valuable.

In the Williams case, the man had worked for the company since 1988. During the 18 years he worked there, he held various positions. But in 2006, the logging company determined it couldn’t supply enough logs in one of its plants to justify eight-hour days. It reassigned 25 employees to other mills.

The transfer process involved a grading system of sorts based on discipline, versatility, attendance and skill. Workers got a 1, 2 or 3 in each category. Scores were averaged and the employees with the highest scores earned a transfer. Transferred employees retained their pay level, but lost seniority.

Despite nearly two decades of experience, Williams was reassigned to a plan in 2006 and was put on probation for 90 days. Since he lost seniority, he was put in a low-impact position where he had no experience. He was supposed to take out defects and knots in plywood and while he improved over time, his company fired him after the 90-day probation period.

In his lawsuit, he alleged the company wrongfully terminated him based on a faulty scoring system, demoting him to a position where he had no experience, for not following its written policies and firing him.

Plum Creek moved for a dismissal and a judge granted the dismissal. But Williams appealed and the Montana Supreme Court reversed. The court ruled that a dismissal early in a case, called summary judgment, shouldn’t be granted unless there are not disputed facts.

In this case, the court ruled, there are many disputed facts and summary judgment shouldn’t be substituted for a trial. The decision was reversed and the case was set back for trial.
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Charter Oak High School recently fired its junior varsity boys water polo coach after discovering what school officials said were inappropriate photos posted on Facebook and MySpace. The coach alleges he was fired because he is gay, the Glendora Patch reports.

There are many forms of discrimination and, unfortunately, they are often used by bosses and co-workers who aim to show power over others unlawfully. Sexual orientation discrimination in Santa Ana is wrong and requires the skills of an experienced Orange County Discrimination Lawyer who is able to sort through the facts and show that the clients have been victimized at work.
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In this case, the openly gay man previously coached water polo in the mid- to late-1990s and returned this summer, only to be fired four months into his new tenure, the Glendora Patch reports. School officials recently discovered pictures taken when he wasn’t on school time that depict him suggestively holding a corndog to his face and posing with men in drag. In none of the photos was he wearing anything sexually suggestive nor were students linked to the pictures, the news story reports.

The coach says that retribution and discrimination is to blame for his firing. The story states that two weeks before school started, half of the swim students hadn’t yet completed their yearly physical, which clears them to compete. But after the week deadline had passed, some students still hadn’t completed the physicals and, as punishment, had to wash the cars of faculty and administrators.

One angry parent approached the coach after practice to complain and shortly after, an anonymous parent sent an envelope to the principal with a letter and the photos, some that were taken years ago.

The coach, a 1993 graduate of the school, is now worried for his daughter, who is a freshman there. She has already been confronted by students who have taunted her about her father after he was fired.

The coach asked administrators whether he would have been fired if he was photographed with cheerleaders in skimpy uniforms and the administrator said no, because that is their uniform. The coach said that for drag queens, that’s their uniform.

Parents have called and written letters of support. Even other coaches have said they support the fired coach because of the talent he brings to the school. He has also been a fundraiser for the aquatics program.

The coach brings up a valid point that shouldn’t be overlooked. While social network sites such as Facebook and MySpace have put employees on edge about facing sanctions if they post “inappropriate” photos or messages, employers can’t be discriminatory in the actions.

While some homophobic employers, or parents in this case, may object to someone based on their sexual orientation, would a teacher or coach who is heterosexual who had pictures leaked of them with a scantily clad woman be fired? They would probably be sanctioned but not fired. Then again, maybe no one would object.

That is discrimination. One person can’t be punished for an action that others have done but not sanctioned for doing.

While California has been more accommodating and accepting of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgendered people and employees, there are still obstacles to overcome. People are still sometimes treated poorly, not hired or inappropriately fired for factors that have nothing to do with their job performance or skills and that needs to end.
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